Philadelphia Eagles: Grayland Arnold goes to bat for Marcus Epps

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Reid. Kyle Hamilton. Tyrann Mathieu. Chuck Clark; the Philadelphia Eagles need to make a trade for Chuck Clark, and suddenly, their secondary will be saved.

I mean, why not, right? The Eagles added Haason Reddick, Kyzir White, and James Bradberry in free agency, and the dynamic duo of Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis in the draft; flipping Jalen Reagor for Clark, a potential trade the two teams reportedly discussed, and many a fan seemingly approves of, would fill Philly’s final defensive hole and seemingly shoot the team back into Super Bowl contention.

Well, what if I were to tell you the Eagles might not need Clark? What if I were to tell you the team might already have a diamond in the rough hidden in plain view, just waiting to be appreciated by the masses?

Well, if ex-Philadelphia Eagles safety Grayland Arnold is to be believed, there might not be a “might” about it; Marcus Epps is a “dawg.”

Maybe Epps is ready for a bigger role with the Philadelphia Eagles this fall.

When the Philadelphia Eagles claimed Marcus Epps off of waivers in 2019, it wasn’t particularly eventful.

Howie Roseman had just waived nickel safety Andrew Sendejo in order to save a compensatory draft pick, and after his former team put in a claim for his services, the Minnesota Vikings waived Epps, Howie Roseman swooped in, and he made the waiver wire switcheroo.

Considering how much of a “Just-A-Guy” Sendejo was with the Eagles over his nine-game tenure, securing the remaining balance of a rookie sixth-round pick’s contract made quite a bit of sense.

Since 2019, Epps has steadily watched his production ramp up with each passing season, going from 110 as a rookie to 364 in 2020, all the way up to a career-high 505 last season. While some will never forgive him for allowing that D.K. Metcalf catch a few seasons ago – you know the one – PFF ranked Epps as the Eagles’ best safety in 2021, and there’s a strong case to be made that said production is worth betting on.

I mean, goodness, Epps did come up in Mike Zimmer’s scheme, after all, the scheme Jonathan Gannon has used as the template for his defense in South Philadelphia. Is it any wonder Epps was a quick study under his new defensive teacher?

Whether technically tasked with playing free or strong safety, two roles that aren’t drastically different in a two-deep look, Epps has proven himself a solid deep defender who is a sound tackler, a competent ballhawk, and a valuable player in run support, which is crucial when running a lighter box up front.

If Epps can remain committed to keeping his man in front of him and continue to produce at the same level over double the workload, there’s a chance the Eagles might just have something in the collegiate Wyoming Cowboy… right in time for his impending free agency.

Next. Report: James Bradberry vetoed multiple trades. dark

Realistically speaking, the Philadelphia Eagles should probably bring in a veteran safety to fill out their depth chart heading into camp – an Andrew Sendejo-type, if you will. No offense to K’Von Wallace, Andre Chachere, or Reed Blankenship, but having one more player with extensive NFL experience certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing. With that being said, let’s hope said player gets Sendejo’d into the third safety role because Marcus Epps separates himself from the pack and becomes the team’s long-term starter. That is by far the best possible outcome.